ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina man faces charges after video shows him punching a cyclist in the face, WLOS reports.
According to the cyclist’s attorney, her client was riding with the pace of traffic and legally within his lane in Asheville. Because of construction, the driver was unable to pass the cyclist.
“When they got through the construction area, the truck immediately went to pass him and came very close to him in his lane, and he had to swerve his bicycle to avoid being run off the road,” the attorney said.
When they both came up to the stop light, camera footage showed Claude Watson stepping out of his truck and punching the victim in his face.
Watson was arrested and charged with simple assault and reckless driving to endanger.
Many bike riders were shocked but not surprised by the video. They said the video only shows a glimpse of what cyclists experience on roads every day. They hope the video will bring awareness to the dangers cyclists face.
“It was hard to watch,” said Mike Sule, executive director with Asheville on Bikes. “But when I received the video, I wasn’t particularly surprised that a cyclist was assaulted.
The cyclist’s attorney said the assault left him shaken.
“Physically, he has a bloody nose and a busted lip and pretty much what you would expect from a punch to the face,” she said.
Avid cyclists said the video shows the growing tension between drivers and cyclists.
“This pains me to think people are disrespecting each other,” Sule said. “We all have a right to get around and get around safely, and we have to respect each other more.”